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Our work at Godrevy

Conservation ponies grazing at Godrevy
Conservation ponies grazing at Godrevy | © Lucy Honeychurch

As wild as Godrevy feels, this rugged landscape requires a constant cycle of maintenance and care. From regenerating wildflowers to keeping walking routes clear, our work helps to preserve the balance between nature and the people who come here.

Reversing the decline in nature

The land at Godrevy has been farmed for centuries. The latest custodians of the headland are the National Trust ranger team who are working to protect and restore the area.

One of the things they have been doing is to plant wild seed margins, to bring more wildlife back to the heart of the farm. This provides wildlife-rich corridors to link up with the existing coastal habitats nearby. On site, the team are restoring flower-rich meadows, planting trees and making changes to the management of the Cornish hedges that weave through the farm.

Shetland ponies grazing on a cliff
Dinner with a view | © National Trust Images/Harry Davies

Shetland ponies

The Shetland ponies at Godrevy are happy in the blustery exposed conditions on the headland. They're out grazing all year round, which helps to keep vegetation under control.

Ponies are actually selective grazers and don't tend to eat flowers. This means they're happy munching their way through grass stems, gorse and cut vegetation. They also trample the ground, which, in moderation, is beneficial as it opens the sward, allowing the plants and wildflowers to flourish.

Local graziers run their small herds of cattle throughout the year to work alongside the ponies.

Restoring wildflower meadows

We're restoring and creating wildflower meadows, which hugely benefit wildlife and the environment.

Initially crops of barley were grown to reduce the excess nutrients in the soil - an essential part of meadow creation. The restoration work also includes sowing hay rattle to suppress the grass to make space for wildflowers to thrive.

Flowers at Godrevy

Among the flowers found at Godrevy are the purple eyebright (a version of the more common white eyebright) and white bell heather (a version of the more common purple bell heather). Common centaury, goldenrod, St John’s wort and wild carrot also flower here.

The Knavocks has been grazed by ponies for over 10 years now, and swathes of saw-wort have been flowering for the last few years. If it wasn't for clearing and grazing, these wildflowers wouldn’t be here.

Creating pathways

Wider and more accessible paths have been created to allow visitors to explore the headland and soak up the expansive views along this rugged stretch of coastline. You can help by sticking to the footpaths and keeping dogs on leads.

This also helps protect the history underfoot. Much of this area is designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and archaeologists have discovered that the headland has been farmed since way back in history. Indeed, the name Godrevy is derived from the Cornish word meaning 'small farm'.

Walking down the boardwalk at Godrevy
Godrevy | © Hilary Daniel

Balancing wildlife and people

Godrevy is a magnet for sun worshippers, surfers, picnickers, swimmers and walkers, to name but a few. It’s also home to ground-nesting birds, small mammals, reptiles and rare invertebrates. The rangers and welcome team work hard to ensure that wildlife thrives and people continue to enjoy the area.

Protecting Godrevy's grey seals

Godrevy is a particularly important site for a large number of grey seals. Peering down from the viewing area, it may feel like they're far away, but we ask everyone to keep a respectful hush so that the seals aren't disturbed as they haul out onto the beach.

Working here

National Trust rangers and volunteers are dedicated to looking after the coastal countryside at Godrevy. Next time you visit you may notice the infrastructure which they install and maintain, take a note of the signs and always stick to footpaths. They are passionate about increasing biodiversity in all aspects of their roles, some of their responsibilities include:

  • Surveying and monitoring for plants and wildlife
  • Improving soil health on the farmland
  • Creating habitats for invertebrates
  • Maintaining path routes and resurfacing
  • Improving the habitat for migratory and nesting birds
  • Planting hedgerows and trees
  • Creating scrapes and ponds
  • Providing access and infrastructure for visitors
  • Partnership working with other agencies to protect the landscape and habitats
  • Hosting events and guided walks
  • Providing volunteer opportunities and deepening connections to our land
  • Restoring species rich grassland
  • Protecting threatened wildlife
  • Providing interpretation and signage
  • Managing grazing animals for conservation value

Sharing the love

Whatever catches your eye on the land, in the sea or in the sky, we’d love to see your pictures of this beautiful wild space. Please share them online by using the hashtag #NTGodrevyWild.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

A gate along a coastal path with a view of the lighthouse in the background a Godrevy, Cornwall


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